HARARE – Premier African Minerals Limited has completed a new underground Conceptual Mine Plan for RHA Tungsten Private Limited in conjunction with technical assistance from independent mine consultants.
In an update on RHA Tungsten Private Limited and Zulu Lithium Private Limited, Premier CEO, George Roach said the conceptual mine plan will be assisted by independent South African mine planning consultants Bara Consulting Proprietary Limited, geological consultants Shango Solutions and metallurgy and process engineer Multotec Process Equipment Proprietary Limited.
The plan has been based on a revised RHA underground mineral resource estimate relating to the parts of the ore body included within the Conceptual Mine Plan.
Roach said the objective of the new Conceptual Mine Plan is to assess the potential impact of returning RHA to production and assess whether RHA can generate a return on Premier’s investment to date in surface infrastructure, plant and equipment at RHA at minimal additional capital costs, based on using just the existing vertical access shaft.
The Conceptual Mine Plan assesses an underground production rate of 6000 tonnes per month with a projected lifespan of 10 years and indicates a peak funding requirement of US$2.5 million and a payback within 16 months.
Premier has resolved not to commit further funding to RHA meaning a third party being either the National Indigenisation, and Economic Empowerment Fund (NIEEF) or another party would need to provide new funding,
“Premier’s historic commitment to RHA needs to be matched by NIEEF or another funding option will need to be sourced given there will be no further financial commitment from Premier apart from the basic care and maintenance costs” he said.
Roach said the drilling programme has commenced at Zulu Lithium despite delays caused by COVID-19 infections and restrictions imposed by government to control the spread of the virus.
“The rigs continue to operate and our lab equipment is now only awaiting import clearance to Zimbabwe. In the background important other work is underway including that associated with environment, water management, tailings management, geotechnical assessment, preparation for additional metallurgical studies, logistics route planning and cost estimates.”
Premier remains on track with its plans to prepare Zulu Lithium’s Definitive Feasibility Study in line with previously reported timelines.
Premier has reviewed the underground mineral resources that would be available to the Conceptual Mine Plan restricted to vertical shaft access only through existing infrastructure. The new mineral resource estimate, provided by Shango has assumed that the XRT sorter is no longer used at this reduced tonnage and therefore a cut-off grade of 1.87kg/t has been applied at a tungsten price of US$300 per10kg in concentrate.
In 2019 Premier signed a management agreement with NIEEF which was expected to bring back RHA Tungsten into production without any further financing requirement from Premier.
The signed agreement with NIEEF included a funding undertake of US$6 million for RHA. These funds would see RHA back in production and allow for required upgrades that were expected to result in major operating cost reductions including electricity grid connection.
Premier is set to retain ownership of the plant and equipment and is reappointed as the manager for a further five years with renewal thereafter.